Friday, August 29, 2014

Corned Beef Sweet Potato Hash

It is with such enthusiasm I have purchased and put together (by myself) the begins of a garage gym. I have wanted one for a while because some days I don't have time to do all the programming or get into the box at all. I realize that's reality for most people but since working out is my biggest stress reliever and confidence builder I am not giving it up the majority of my days without a fight. Can't get better if you don't train and I'm not done getting better. Charlie helped me put it together and put all the screws in every hole on the rack- it was cute... But she was more excited when the rings went up- they're her favorite and the first thing she runs to in the box.

 With the school year starting next week I have decided to mix up my typical breakfast. I usually make a big pan of hash (sweet potato, sausage, bacon) on Sundays and then microwave it in the morning before work, cook an egg and eat that with some avocado to get the fat-protein-carb combo going.
Since it is a new year why not try something new? When I was vegetarian I always salivated at ruben sandwiches and corned beef hash so now that I can eat a ruben like it's my job I decided to take on corned beef hash. The first time I made it I bought the corned beef... then after someone at the box posted a sandwich with homemade corned beef that same day I decided to not be lame and to make it myself too.

You can do this one of two ways... one, buy a brisket and let it sit in a brine for 24hour to 4 days and then cook the beef... or two, buy corned beef already brined and cook it. I did the lather because I didn't want to wait. I found my corned beef at Whole Foods and cooked it 30 min per pound in water, in my dutch oven. I then sliced and cubed it for the hash. Charlie LOVED the corned beef... when I was cubing it she was eating it almost as fast... it is definitely going on my menu of things to have on hand.

Corned Beef Sweet Potato Hash

- 1-2 lbs Corned Beef (I go heavy on this)
- 1 Sweet Potato, peeled and small dice
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, small dice
- Salt
- Pepper

1. Saute the onion and potato in a little bit of oil or grass-fed butter over medium high heat until potatoes are almost fork tender (7-10min)

2. Add the corned beef and saute a few more minutes until some pieces are getting crispy. Taste for salt and pepper. Corned beef is salty so you might not want to add salt.
3. Serve with a poached or fried egg...yum!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cube Steak Tacos and Guacamole

I was introduced to this dish by the first guy I have dated that didn't make me pasta with jarred sauce and chicken for a date-night meal. Seriously guys... stop making that. I came home from a long day at work and then night conferences until 8pm and I requested Rudy get me the new sports bra I really wanted because I was competing that weekend and have dinner waiting!! I thought what he made was a great idea so I added my own touch to it. Using cube steak really makes taco night a little nicer and doesn't have the expensive per pound price like flank steak does. 
Cube steak is usually used in chicken fried steak and is top round or top sirloin that has been tenderized- the pounding is what gives it the unique looking texture. 

I ate mine in sort of a salad- with guacamole one chipotle salsa on top. I would have preferred a shell of some kind but I didn't have any. :) 

Cube Steak Tacos

- 1-2 pounds Cube Steak
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Oil

1. Sprinkle the steak on both sides with the seasonings. 
2. Heat oil in a skillet to medium high heat. Cook the steak 3-5 minutes per side depending on your preference on done-ness.
3. Slice and serve with all your favorite taco fixings. 


- 2 Avocados
- 1 Lime
- 1 Roma or Vine tomato
- 1 jalapeno
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
1. Mash the avocados. Juice the lime and add the remaining ingredients to the avocados. Mix and serve. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins... nut free!

I ran 400m repeats on the local track this week with my mini-me... she ran two full laps! It is hard not to be motivated when this little thing is watching me. 

A surprising number of people in my life have tree nut allergies. Before I didn't really pay attention to it, but now that I am dating Rudy, who has an allergy, and some other people I work out with do too, I am forced to pay attention because I don't want to kill them! I don't know about you, but trying to find paleo baking recipes that don't use almond flour is tough because you can't just sub coconut flour (too dry) or tapioca (too chewy.) I was doing some research and found a blog that said that seed flour is a direct substitute for almond flour... problem is you can't buy it, you have to make it. So I set out to find raw sunflower seeds and see what this was all about. My mom found raw seeds in the bulk section of Whole Foods... way cheaper than almond flour! and then found it a dollar a pound cheaper at Trader Joes!
Making Seed Flour:
- Put the raw seeds in a high powered blender and blend... my words of caution would be to not blend too much or you will get sunbutter and to stop the blender and stir the flour once or twice to get the stuff from the bottom that is starting to stick together. For this recipe I used two heaping cups of raw seeds blended and it made enough flour for 80 mini muffins! (two batches) These little babies are coming with me to the competition tomorrow. :)

My mini muffin mountain

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 

(Printable Version)

(makes about 35-40 mini muffins)

- 1 1/2 Cups Seed Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Eggs, whisked
- 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
- 2 Tbsp Raw Honey
- 1 Rotten Banana, mashed (if you don't have this add another egg and a bit more honey)
- 1 Cup Shredded Zucchini, about 1 small 
- 1/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life Brand)

 Preheat over to 350 degrees. 

1. Whisk the first 5 ingredients together.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients besides the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir into the dry ingredients.

3. Put the shredded zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze the water out. Fold it and the chocolate chips into the batter.

4. Grease a mini muffin pan and drop about a heaping teaspoon into each muffin hole (~2/3 full.) Bake 10-12 minutes. Store in the fridge. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Buffalo Broccoli and Cauliflower

I don't know the last time I drank pop... just not my thing... plus it is completely terrible for you and my cross country coach in high school instilled in me to hardly drink it so I still don't. So this is what my fridge beverage section looks like in case you cared- don't worry, the wine is kept elsewhere. :)

I am still trying to eat more vegetables so when some of my CrossFit ladies were talking about what buffalo sauce at a restaurant is usually made of (Franks and Butter) I thought why not try that on some roasted vegetables??? Turns out it is mighty tasty- maybe with some ranch or bleu cheese...???...oh wait, that defeats the healthy eating. But I am thinking some crispy bacon next time would really be fantastic.


Buffalo Broccoli and Cauliflower

- 1 Head of Cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 Bunch of Broccoli, about 3 stalks, cut into florets
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or grass-fed buter)
- 1/4 Cup Hot Sauce (I used Franks)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

1. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli and cauliflower in the oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. 

2. In a sauce pan, melt the oil and hot sauce together. Toss with the vegetables and put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chocolate Granola

Basement flooded in last week's storm, roof leaked, dealing with insurance... blah. Ugh.

The previous two granola recipes were a big success and fullfilled that void in my life that used to be cereal... so I decided to take it to the next level and use chocolate. If you want it sweeter reduce the cocoa powder. I had mine with some bulletproof coffee (Strong coffee, MCT Oil, Grass-fed Butter) and I have to say I think it helped my workout that morning... ??... :)

Chocolate Granola

- 1 Cup Walnuts, chopped
- 1 Cup Pecans, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Almonds (whole), chopped
- 1 Cup Slivered Almonds
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Cup Enjoy Life Mega Chunks (dairy free chocolate- half of a bag)
- 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees

1. Chop all the nuts. You need 3 cups of nuts so use whatever you have or like, just make sure they are raw. I also used a knife to chop because Charlie was sleeping but you could pulse them in a food processor. Put them in a large bowl with the shredded coconut and salt.

2. Melt the chocolate with the vanilla and coconut oil over a double boiler. When it is melted add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
3. Pour the chocolate over the nuts and mix to combine. Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring half way... be careful after 15 minutes it will burn quickly. The granola will harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Paleo Pizza Dough

 I have been craving pizza for a while and with a competition coming up I have been resisting the urge. I realize one bad meal won't kill me, but this competition is my first individual one in a while and I have a guilt complex. One of the box "moms" made a really good pizza dough recipe with yucca root that was the most like "real" pizza I have ever tasted so I wanted to take a spin off of that. That recipe was in grams, I don't have a scale and I wouldn't want to copy a recipe anyway so I decided to use sweet potato... another paleo friendly starchy root vegetable...and make up my own. It is a little time consuming but the results will make you glad you didn't succumb the take-out. (My favorite quick pizza dough recipe is from the book "Primal Cravings")

 I made this twice- neither were technically paleo because I used raw cheese, but both really hit the spot. The cheese I found was at a grocery chain by the specialty cheese- I tend to pick either raw parmesan or cheddar because of the sharp flavor I can use less.

The first time I made a BBQ chicken pizza... I shredded a rotisserie chicken, tossed it lightly in the best Paleo-friendly BBQ I could find, used more BBQ for the sauce and topped it with the chicken, red onion, and raw cheese.

The second time I made it with pizza sauce I found at Whole Foods with no added sugar, Applegate Salami (I didn't have pepperoni) and raw cheese. Charlie was a BIG fan of this one. And guess what? I was getting veggies in her also... sweet potato and yucca are better than a no-veggie dinner!

Paleo Pizza Dough

(Printable Version)

 - 1 Yucca Root
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 1 Cup Tapioca Flour
- 1/2 Cup Potato Starch
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 3 Tbsp Avocado Oil

1. Peel and dice the yucca and sweet potato. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the yucca, cover, and cook 10 minutes- you may want to reduce the heat since you are covering the pot. Add the sweet potato and cook another 5-10 minutes until both vegetables are fork tender.

2. Drain and mash the vegetables.
Preheat the Oven to 430 degrees
3. In a separate bowl, mix everything except the oil. Add the root vegetables, this should be about 3 cups, and mix with your hands, kneading as necessary. Add the oil. The dough should not be sticky and the flour should be all combined when you are finished. If it is too dry add more oil, if it is too wet add a touch more flour.***

4. Press the dough onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. Thinner for crispier crust.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are browning.
6. Add your toppings and bake another 5-10 minutes until your toppings are done.

*** At this point you are freeze or refrigerate the dough until you want to use it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chorizo Stuffed Peppers

I love when Charlie grabs my hand and pulls me off the deck to do handstands with her... we spend a lot of our yard time doing some fitness and I enjoy that she thinks it is fun and I hope it stays that way. There are days when I can't make it to the box or feel like I need a rest day but still want to do something active. These are some things I do with her and you could do with any toddler or baby to get a mini workout in at home while involving them: I put her on my shoulders and do walking lunges around the yard (she yells at me to go faster and do it again), I put her in her winter sled and run laps of the grass (talk about a thigh burner) and we practice our strict hand stand push-ups against the garage. This is her doing them with me... so freaking cute. 

Peppers are in season so I have a few bell pepper recipes coming up. A lot of Paleo stuffed pepper recipes I was perusing involved cauliflower rice-- I hate making that I really do. My food processor sucks and it makes a huge mess. I went with mushrooms to give another texture and Charlie LOVES olives so I had some around the house. Using spinach or other veggies would be tasty too! This recipe idea came from a Betty Crocker Crockpot recipe I decided to make paleo and revamp. Just a word on the tomato/pizza sauces.... Read the cans- I went with a no salt added one that didn't have anything I deem not good to eat in it- Mario Batali's. Chorizo is another one that can be tricky as far as preservatives and whatnot depending on where you shop- I found mine at Whole Foods. 

I had a little extra filling so I had it with my eggs and avocado for breakfast!

Chorizo Stuffed Peppers

- 1 lb Ground Chorizo (or italian sausage if you don't like heat)
- 5ish White button mushrooms, diced
- 10-15 Black Olives, sliced
- 2 Cups Tomato Sauce (or Marinara or Pizza Sauce)  
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, finely diced
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 4 Bell Peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

1. In a skilled over medium heat, add about 1 Tbsp of Oil and saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chorizo and break it up as it is cooking. When it is almost cooked through, add the mushrooms and olives and cook another minute or two. 

3. Add the tomato sauce and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or so until the mixture is bubbling and starts to thicken. 

4. Stand the peppers up in a baking dish and fill them with the meat mixture. I put the tops back on for fun but you don't have to. Bake for 35-40 minutes. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Homemade Maple Turkey Sausage and Zucchini Cake Stacks

This week reminded me of the The Shirelles song, "Momma Said" not because of a romantic relationship, but one with my two-year-old. Two days in a row I swear I didn't know my child. She was crying at every little thing, clinging to me, making a mess every time I turned around, not listening, not staying in time out, taking her clothes off, going to the bathroom in the house, etc. Sigh. These were also the two days I chose not to work out so that didn't help...there was no releif. There is no one that comes home and helps me at any point, there is no adult to talk to at the end of the day, just her and me. Yesterday I was so much at my breaking point I told her I needed time (not that she gets it) put on Mickey Mouse and locked myself in the bathroom to just re-group. I was truly convinced that this weekend when she was with her dad I honestly would welcome the break, but when I went to drop her off with her dad she wouldn't let go of me, didn't want to go to him, and cried real tears as they drove away... just like that I was back... the second they drove out of sight that empty void was back and I missed her. No matter what tough days we have she's so much of my heart I would rather have her little devil version of herself around then not having her at all. 

This is her in her diaper at the zoo because she didn't want to wear clothes and she was about to be fed to the lions so I let her play in public like that... people are lucky no one said anything because they would have regretted it the mood we were both in. :)

I am guilty of buying foods because they are convenient, but when I compare my turkey sausage I made with the purchased turkey sausage I just want to gag... ew... what was I thinking? The one on the left is purchased, the one on the right is mine... if you couldn't tell. Not only can I name every ingredient in the sausage I made, but I know the quality of meat and it tastes so much better in general. 

There is also way too much zucchini happening right now- in a good way. From my friends' posts with their gardens and some very inappropriate appropriate vegetable pictures I know a lot of people have a lot of large zucchinis to use up. These zucchini cakes are a nice texture component and added vegetable serving to breakfast. 

Homemade Maple Turkey Sausage and Zucchini Cake Stacks 

(Printable Version)

The recipes are below. I stacked a zucchini cake with a piece of turkey sausage and poached an egg to go on top. Cook you egg however you want- add hot sauce, slice some avocado...yum!

Maple Turkey Sausage

- 1 lb Ground Turkey
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 3/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Thyme 
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1. Combine all of the ingredients and mix until spices are evenly distributed.

2. Form the meat into about 10 thin patties... I do this as I add them to the pan, starting with roughly a golf-ball sized scoop of meat per patty. 
3. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp of oil/fat. Cook each patty about 3-5 minutes per side. Since it is turkey make sure they are cooked thoroughly. 

Zucchini Cakes

- 1 Large Zucchini
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Flour
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

1. Shred the zucchini and ring it out in paper towel. The drier the better. 
2. Combine the zucchini and the remaining ingredients. Form the mixture into 4 thin patties- I press mine into the pan as I add them.
3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat or spray some oil and cook each zucchini cake 3-5 minutes on each side until golden. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Banana Streusel Muffins

Three more weeks and I go back to! I am lesson planning while Charlie naps these days and I am at the point where I need to make lists of what I need to do because I am already getting overwhelmed. Today I tried out one of my new muffin recipes with some much needed coffee after my morning workout and got to work. 100 burpees is always a good way to start the day, right?

These are Paleo, nut-free, dairy-free and very moist and tasty. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container and they should be good for a week. If you don't like or can't have flaxseed just omit it.

Banana Streusel Muffins

(Printable Version)

 (makes 12 muffins)
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
- 2 Very Ripe Bananas
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (or water)
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup Enjoy Life (dairy free) mini Chocolate Chips

- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mash the bananas and whisk the eggs, banana, oil, honey, and vanilla together.
2. You could use a separate bowl to whisk the remaining dry ingredients together (except chocolate chips) ---or don't use a separate bowl and just throw everything in which is what I do because I am lazy and don't want more dishes- and add the dry ingredients to the wet. Whisk until really well combined.
3. Add the chocolate chips and mix.
4. Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each about 1/2-2/3 full. Top with a very small amount of the streusel topping.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.